Turkey's president refuses to be drawn on election
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
ANKARA - Turkey's president remains non-committal about whether or not he will rerun for president in the upcoming August elections.
Answering journalists' questions in a joint press conference with Latvia's President Andris Brezins on Wednesday, President Abdullah Gul said he still had to discuss the issue with the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Gul added that there will be other candidates and the decision is up to Turkish people, therefore no one should take the "presidential post for granted."
The first round of the elections will be held on August 10 and the second on August 24. The candidate getting 51 percent of the votes in the first round will be directly elected but if all candidates fail to reach that percent of votes, voting will go to a second round.
Asked about a draft law to give Turkey's intelligence agency (MIT) broader powers to demand unrestricted access to the records of state institutions and private companies without a court order, Gul said "these kind of laws are always highly-debated" and added that he had made suggestions to the undersecretary of MIT.
Opposition parties claim the law would lead to "an authoritarian state".
- NATO solidarity with Baltics
On whether NATO's presence in the Baltic states should be extended, considering Russia's recent aggresion, Gul said it is time for NATO members to show solidarity, however he stressed the importance of stability in the region.
Turkey's President stressed the importance of a "diplomatic approach" and a careful dialogue with Russia as well.
Speaking in the joint press conference, Brezins reiterated Latvia's "full support" of Turkey's EU membership process.
"We are extremely happy to cooperate with the Turkish Republic, I have come with a crowded delegation to strenghten our excellent relationships," Brezins said. "There are lots of areas to cooperate in other than trade - area's like tourism and education."
Brezins also said NATO's importance became visible after the crisis in Ukraine and believes the organization will have a consensus on the joint defence within their members.
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